Obama and Romney locked in tight race for White House
Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney were locked in a fierce neck and neck battle for the White House today as counting of votes in one of the costliest elections the United States has ever seen got underway.
True to the projections made by exit polls, the initial trends indicated a photo finish between Obama and Romney, who began his campaign as an underdog but emerged as a formidable challenger for the incumbent Democratic President. According to CNN projections at 8.30 IST, Romney led the President 158 electoral votes to 147 electoral votes as suspense-filled results were awaited in the traditionally swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia. Early counting in the swing state of Florida showed them running neck and neck, while Obama established an early lead in Ohio.
CNN projected that Pennsylvania with 20 electoral votes would go to Obama, while it predicted that Republicans will keep control of the US House of Representatives.
Though nation-wide polls on the Election Day yesterday showed the two candidates virtually tied, the President was seen holding leads in several of the swing states. Unlike India and in most of the democracies across the world where the entire nation has one time for the opening and closing of polls, the election schedule in the United States, world's largest democracies, varies from State to State.
In US, the President is not chosen by the popular vote, but indirectly through the electoral college, in which states vote based on population, with a candidate needing 270 out of 538 electoral votes to win.